Ex-Detroit mayor convicted: Kwame Kilpatrick, the ex-mayor of Detroit, was convicted on 24 of 30 counts on Monday.
Kwame Kilpatrick, the former mayor of Detroit, was convicted on Monday on federal corruption charges, including bribery, extortion, and rackateering, ending the notorious political career of the so-called “hip hop mayor.”
A jury in Detroit concluded that Kilpatrick ran a criminal enterprise while he was mayor, which he used to fuel a lavish lifestyle, reported the Detroit Free Press. Bobby Ferguson, a longtime friend and contractor, was also convicted of taking part in the racket.
The jury heard testimonies from eighty government witnesses, viewed text messages, and covert video and voice recordings over a five-month span. Kilpatrick was convicted on 24 of 30 counts.
Prosecutors said Kilpatrick sent around $83 million in city work to Ferguson and in return, he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks, according to NBC News.
Agents with the Internal Revenue Service said Kilpatrick spent $840,000 beyond his normal salary as mayor, according to The Associated Press.
Kilpatrick, a Democrat who was sometimes called the “hip hop mayor,” was elected to preside over Michigan’s largest city in 2001. But over his tenure, Kilpatrick was accused of nepotism, cronyism, and uncontrollable spending—as Detroit was literally and figuratively crumbling.
He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2008 and resigned, spending some three months in jail. Later, he spent a year in jail for violating probation.
As Kilpatrick exited the courthouse on Monday, he said nothing, according to MLive.com. However, a crowd of people said that “justice has been served.”
His attorney, James Thomas, said during the trial that city workers and supporters gave Kilpatrick cash gifts, reported AP.
“I am pleased that this long trial has ended and we can finally put this negative chapter in Detroit’s history behind us. It is time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to transparency and high ethical standards in our City government,” Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement after Kilpatrick’s conviction.
Bernard Kilpatrick, the former mayor’s father, was also convicted on a single count of signing a fake tax return, according to Reuters.
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